It is probable that Aesop did not commit his fables to writing; Aristophanes (Wasps, 1259) represents Philocleon as having learnt the "absurdities" of Aesop from conversation at banquets, and Socrates whiles away his time in prison by turning some of Aesop's fables "which he knew" into verse (Plato, Phaedo, 61 b).
Jacobs, The Fables of Aesop (1889): i.
The authors he recommends include " Aesop " and Sallust, the tragedies of Seneca and the epic poets, especially Virgil, whom he interprets in an allegorical sense.
Lastly, the obscurity in which the history of Aesop is involved has induced some scholars to deny his existence altogether.
He read and re-read in early boyhood the Bible, Aesop, Robinson Crusoe, Pilgrim's Progress, Weems's Life of Washington and a history of the United States; and later read every book he could borrow from the neighbours, Burns and Shakespeare becoming favourites.
"Aesop is a wise fellow," said his master.
The cunning and stratagem of the fox have been proverbial for many ages, and he has figured as a central character in fables from the earliest times, as in Aesop, down to "Uncle Remus," most notably as Reynard (Raginohardus, strong in counsel) in the great medieval beast-epic "Reynard the Fox" (q.v.).
Andrew Fay, sometimes styled the " Hungarian Aesop," is chiefly remembered for his Eredeti Mesek (Original Fables).
Neckam also wrote Corrogationes Promethei, a scriptural commentary prefaced by a treatise on grammatical criticism; a translation of Aesop into Latin elegiacs (six fables from this version, as given in a Paris MS., are printed in Robert's Fables inedites); commentaries, still unprinted, on portions of Aristotle, Martianus Capella and Ovid's Metamorphoses, and other works.
A further appendix consisted of Anecdotes, Letters and Rescripts of the emperor Hadrian; fables of Aesop; extracts from Hyginus; a history of the Trojan War, abridged from the Iliad; and a legal fragment, Hepi iXethEpci €wv (De manumissionibus).
His passion for the stage completely engrossed him; he tried his hand both at dramatic criticism and at dramatic authorship. His first dramatic piece, Lethe, or Aesop in the Shades, which he was thirty-seven years later to read from a splendidly bound transcript to King George III.
His work shows little or no originality; he simply versified in iambic trimeters the fables current in his day under the name of "Aesop," interspersing them with anecdotes drawn from daily life, history and mythology.
It contains eighty-three fables, is as old as the 10th century, and seems to have been based on a still earlier prose version, which, under the name of "Aesop," and addressed to one Rufus, may have been made in the Carolingian period or even earlier.
He is acquainted with the poems of the epic cycle, the Cypria, the Epigoni, &c. He quotes or otherwise shows familiarity with the writings of Hesiod, Olen, Musaeus, Bacis, Lysistratus, Archilochus of Paros, Alcaeus, Sappho, Solon, Aesop, Aristeas of Proconnesus, Simonides of Ceos, Phrynichus, Aeschylus and Pindar.
Some of the greatest authors were not even writers: Homer, Aesop, Thales, Socrates.
Aesop must have received his freedom from Iadmon, or he could not have conducted the public defence of a certain Samian demagogue (Aristotle, Rhetoric, ii.
In Plutarch's Symposium of the Seven Sages, at which Aesop is a guest, there are many jests on his original servile condition, but nothing derogatory is said about his personal appearance.
Stories from Oriental sources were added, and from these collections Maximus Planudes made and edited the collection which has come down to us under the name of Aesop, and from which the popular fables of modern Europe have been derived.
For further information see the article FABLE; Bentley, Dissertation on the Fables of Aesop; Du Meril, Poisies inidites du moyen age (1854); J.
The Fables of Aesop, as first printed by William Caxton, 1484, from his French translation; Hervieux, Les Fabulistes Latins (1893-1899).
Before his time four Italian towns had won the honours of Greek publications: Milan, with the grammar of Lascaris, Aesop, Theocritus, a Greek Psalter, and Isocrates, between 1476 and 1493; Venice, with the Erotemata of Chrysoloras in 1484; Vicenza, with reprints of Lascaris's grammar and the Erotemata, in 1488 and 1490; Florence, with Alopa's Homer, in 1488.
A collection of forty fables by Aphthonius, of ter the style of Aesop, is also extant.
Bib.; Toy in Jewish Encyclopedia; Johannes Mailer, Beitrcige zur Erkldrung and Kritik des Buches Tobit; and in the same volume Alter and Herkunft des Achicar-Romans and sein Verhdltniss zu Aesop, by Rudolf Smend.
Jacobs, Fables of Aesop (London, 1889); for myth, superstition and folk-lore, see D.
Hosius had Jesuit sympathies and actively opposed the Protestant reformation, going so far as to desire a repetition of the St Bartholomew massacre in Poland, Apart from its being "the property of the Roman Church," he regarded the Bible as having no more worth than the fables of Aesop. Hosius was not distinguished as a theologian, though he drew up the Confessio fidei christiana catholica adopted by the synod of Piotrkow in 1557.
Typhon: a Burlesque Poem (1704); Aesop Dress'd, or a Collection of Fables writ in Familiar Verse (1704); The Planter's Charity (1704); The Virgin Unmasked (1709, 1724, 1731, 1742), a work in which the coarser side of his nature is prominent; Treatise of the Hypochondriack and Hysterick Passions (1711, 1715, 1730) admired by Johnson (Mandeville here protests against merely speculative therapeutics, and advances fanciful theories of his own about animal spirits in connexion with "stomachic ferment": he shows a knowledge of Locke's methods, and an admiration for Sydenham); Free Thoughts on Religion (1720); A Conference about Whoring (1725); An Enquiry into the Causes of the Frequent Executions at Tyburn (1725); The Origin of Honour and the Usefulness of Christianity in War (1732).
It immediately made a great impression, which was enhanced by the continuation of his autobiography (Home Letters) and especially by his Fables of Aesop and of other Writers (Leipzig, 1789).
A long time ago there lived a poor slave whose name was Aesop. He was a small man with a large head and long arms.
When Aesop was about twenty years old his master lost a great deal of money and was obliged to sell his slaves.
Aesop at once chose the largest one.
And before the end of the journey Aesop had nothing to carry, while the other slaves were groaning under their heavy loads.
"And what can you do, Aesop?" asked Xanthus.
This answer pleased the rich man so well that he bought Aesop at once, and took him to his home on the island of Samos.
They saw that all these fables taught some great truth, and they wondered how Aesop could have thought of them.